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Loyola partners to help area businesses affected by the oil spill

July 2, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans Small Business Development Center director Carmen Sunda recently testified at a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s immeasurable impact on small businesses. Since the spill began, the SBDC has reached out to more than 1,000 affected small businesses in the area, offering them assistance in filing claims, counseling and support.

Sunda testified at the Senate hearing on May 27 at the request of Senator Mary Landrieu. In her written testimony, Sunda expressed the far-reaching devastation of the uncertainty of the spill and provided details about how the SBDC is helping affected businesses.

“The worst part is that it has no foreseeable ending. People can’t estimate the value of their long-term losses or the long-term impact, because they can’t define ‘long-term’ – does it mean this season, a few years, a life-time?” wrote Sunda.

Loyola’s SBDC has partnered with the Louisiana Small Business Administration to staff 12 Business Recovery Centers in seven parishes across coastal Louisiana. Each center is staffed with an LSBA and an SBDC consultant who help with the BP claims process and filling for loans.

According to Sunda, the SBDC experiences the intensity and range of the spill first-hand through consulting those directly and indirectly impacted by the disaster, from fishermen and seafood processors to used car dealership owners and construction contractors.

“SBDC assists any business that feels that they have been impacted. Our consultants provide businesses with a free, independent, third party that they can speak with on a personal level,” said Sunda.

The recovery centers’ consultants counsel each business individually, helping to determine the best ways for them to overcome the effects of the spill and ensuring each business makes decisions that are appropriate for their individual situation. The Business Recovery Centers also assist businesses with the BP claims process and customer service representatives are available to answer questions about the SBA’s economic injury disaster loan program. Representatives issue loan applications, explain the process and help businesses complete applications.

For more information on Loyola’s SBDC or to arrange an interview with Sunda, contact Kelsey Pabst with Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at 504-458-6595 or kepabst@loyno.edu.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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